Archive for the Category: Japanese

Mimetic bootstrapping

Yesterday I went to an interesting talk on Japanese mimetic words, which are onomatopoeia (擬声語 giseigo / 擬音語 giongo) or words connected to actions, emotions or states (擬態語 gitaigo). For example, くすくす (kusu kusu) – to giggle,ぐずぐず[する] (guzu guzu [suru]) – to procrastinate or dawdle. Researchers in Japan have found that Japanese mothers use a […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics 5 Comments

My favourite kanji

The author of a site offering online Japanese lessons has kindly offered one full account for free to Omniglot visitors. The site offers Japanese lessons for beginners, plus some material for more advanced learners. Some of the lessons are free, once you’ve registered, others are available after payment of an annual subscription. The account will […]

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Word of the day – 成語

成語 [成语] (chéngyǔ) are Chinese idioms usually consisting of four characters. They tend to pack a lot of meaning into those four characters and many have a story, myth or moral behind them from Classical Chinese literature, in which they were used extensively. If you’re not familiar with the stories, it will be very difficult […]

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Languages Quick Fix

Languages Quick Fix is a very useful site I discovered today. It includes words, phrases, and idioms in English, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and German, plus a basic introduction to each language. There are recordings of the words, phrases, and idioms in all the languages – in the case of Chinese, the recordings are in […]

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Japanese more difficult than Chinese?

An article I came across today, via Keith’s blog, argues that it’s a lot more difficult to learn Japanese than Chinese. The author of the article studied both Chinese and Japanese at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), and lived in Japan for over seven years. He feels confident about communicating in Chinese (Mandarin) and found […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Language learning 26 Comments

Word of the day – 和

In Mandarin Chinese, the word 和 (hé) has a number of meanings. On it’s own it is usually means ‘and’, but also means harmony, peace, to be affable, the sum, and ‘of Japan’. Here are a few words featuring this character: 和平 (hépíng) – peace; peaceful; mild 和鳴 [和鸣] (hémíng) – to sound in harmony […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Word of the day – お任せ (omakase)

I came across today’s word on Amazon’s Affiliates site today. They use it as the name of a widget which displays products based on Amazon’s understanding of your site, the visitors to your site and the page you place it on. They say it means “leave it up to us”. お任せ (omakase) is a Japanese […]

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Word of the day – pachi pachi

Today’s word, パチパチ (pachi pachi) is an onomatopoeic Japanese word meaning: 1. pleasant clapping sound; 2. sound of something hot bursting open (i.e. popcorn); 3. incessant blinking It came up while I was chatting with some Japanese friends earlier today and is one of the many onomatopoeic words in Japanese. Here are some more examples: […]

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Finger names

When chatting with some Japanese friends today, the subject of finger names came up for some reason – specifically what the different fingers are called in Japanese and English. It took quite a while to establish which finger corresponded to which name – to make this clear, I found a picture of a hand, added […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Language, Latin, Welsh 48 Comments


As I have no classes this weekend, I decided to go to Aberystwyth today. The bus took about an hour and a half to get there and went through some nice scenery and some pretty villages and towns along the way. I particuarly liked Aberaeron, a small town by the sea with attractive Victorian houses […]

Also posted in Language, Quiz questions, Scottish Gaelic, Travel, Welsh 7 Comments
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